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Recap: Pandora Founder Back as CEO, RIAA Releases 2015 Industry Numbers, YouTube Monetization Explained

Posted by Glen Sears | March 28, 2016 10:38 am | No Comments

Pandora CEO

Story of the Week

Pandora Names Founder Tim Westergren CEO As Part Of Broad Executive Restructuring
Brian McAndrews is out and founder Tim Westergren is in, as the CEO of Pandora, effective immediately. The move is part of a broader restructuring at Pandora, aimed at restoring investor confidence and in anticipation of a possible future sale. Tim Westergren has long been the public face of Pandora, preaching his Music Genome gospel to literally anyone who would listen. Pushed aside in the board room as the company grew and went public, Westergren is now back in charge as Pandora’s new CEO—which is likely great news for artists.

A former touring musician, Tim Westergren has always been a champion of Pandora’s efforts to provide artist data and marketing opportunities. “I am incredibly excited about the future of Pandora. We’re on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision: fundamentally changing the way listeners discover and enjoy music, and the way artists build and sustain their careers,” said Westergren. “We are pursuing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a massive, vibrant music marketplace. We have the audience, the technology infrastructure, the monetization engine and most importantly the right team with the passion and commitment to do it.”

Current independent member Jim Feuille is Chairman of the Board. “Tim is the ideal CEO for Pandora as we embark on our next phase of growth,” he said in a statement. “As the original founder, Tim carries the vision for how Pandora can transform the music industry and he is uniquely able to connect with listeners, music makers and employees.”

Read more on Hypebot…

Top Music News Headlines

U.S. Recording Industry Sees Slight Uptick in Revenue Last Year, Streaming Dominates Digital. The 2015 numbers, released last week by the RIAA, arrive bearing both good and bad news for the players in the digital music space.

Vinyl Sales Made More Than YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud Ads Combined… RIAA figures revealed that vinyl sales made $416 million, while the combined total ad revenue from streaming sites Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube accounted for only $385 million.

…But Vinyl Sales May Not Have Made More Than Streaming. The RIAA’s vinyl revenue number is based on gross retail sales, but the ad supported streaming revenue number it is compared to is only the net amount paid to labels.

Cracker Barrel Joins the Vinyl ‘Revolution.’ The Southern-themed retailer and roadside restaurant chain with a long track record in country, bluegrass, and faith-based CD sales has officially entered the still-booming vinyl market for the first time, with an exclusive numbered collector’s edition of country duo Joey & Rory’s Hymns That Are Important To Us.

“The Music Industry Finds Itself Fighting Over Pennies While Waving Goodbye To Dollars.” [CHART] A New York Times analysis of the statistics shared this week by the RIAA leads to a sobering conclusion: “…the big sales numbers that have sustained the recorded music business for years are way down, and it is hard to see how they could ever return to where they were even a decade ago.”

Where’s The Money? YouTube Revenues Explained. Chris Castle clears the fog surrounding how revenue from YouTube uploads is determined, as well as how the video sharing site’s content management system functions—and whether or not monetization is the best choice for you.

SoundCloud’s Next Move Will Change the Streaming Game (Again). “It’s a very organic, user-friendly ­experience that’s really social,” says a major-label executive who has seen a ­demonstration that includes the paid tier. “It’s true to the way SoundCloud works now.”

BandsInTown and Ticketmaster Debut In-App Ticket Purchases. With the likes of Pandora and Spotify thinking hard about how ticketing fits in to their businesses, startups like Dice iterating rapidly, and Songkick planning big things after its merger with CrowdSurge, it’s an encouraging time for the live market.

Grant Bussinger Claims We Need An Open Source Music Industry. Warped Records’ Head of Digital claims “There is as an opportunity to leverage the same resources and adopt the same guiding principles that have seen success everywhere else.”

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Recap: Spotify & NMPA Reach Settlement, Music Metadata and Streaming Focuses of SXSW

Posted by Glen Sears | March 21, 2016 9:49 am | No Comments

Spotify and NMPA reach $30M settlement

Story of the Week

Spotify and NMPA Reach $30 Million Settlement Agreement Over Unpaid Royalties
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has announced its successful brokering of a settlement between Spotify and its constituents over unmatched (songs that haven’t received payment because Spotify didn’t identify their publishers) and unpaid song royalties, a topic that has given rise to several legal cases against the streaming services over the past few months.

The settlement process will begin in early April with a three-month opt-in period that will allow NMPA members to participate in the disbursement of an estimated $30 million payout pool. The agreement covers the period between Spotify’s inception though June 30, 2017, with an automatic renewal period tacked on through for another 2 years, through June 30, 2019.

By claiming and proving ownership of songs in the unpaid and unmatched pool of songs, publishers will be paid their share from actual plays of those songs to be drawn from that $25 million. A portal for claimants will open following the conclusion of the opt-in period. In addition remuneration from their claims, publishers will receive further payment, based on each publisher’s estimated market share as calculated by the NMPA, from the $5 million penalty pool.

Finally, any funds left over from the pending and unmatched funding pools for each period will be divided among participating publishers based on their market share on Spotify during that royalty period.

Finish reading the story on Billboard…

Top Music News Stories

Songwriters And Publishers Should Think Twice Before Accepting Spotify’s Settlement. The law firm representing David Lowery in his class action suit against Spotify warns that “It is impossible to determine the true benefit to songwriters because the settlement negotiations between NMPA and Spotify have been conducted without Court oversight.”

Bad Data Is The Worm In The Streaming Music Apple. As one senior executive at one of the biggest global tech companies said, “We love rights fragmentation and complexity: it makes it really difficult for anyone without really deep pockets to compete with us in this market.”

Transparency and Data Problems Hotly Debated During First Week of SXSW 2016. The central issue at hand is incomplete metadata attached to song recordings that are licensed to digital distributors — missing publishing information, unclear songwriting splits and the outdated, overly complex system governing it.

Sony Paid $750 Million For Stake In Sony/ATV That Michael Jackson Aquired For $41.5 Million. Music publishing is still a hot sale target at impressive multiples—and if rate renegotiations continue trending upward and streaming issues get resolved, publishers could be worth even more.

At SXSW, Pragmatism Replaces Panic About Streaming Services. Labels are figuring out how to monetize their catalogs in new ways, and although there can be improvements in how royalties are collected and distributed, the problems don’t overshadow the fact that streaming’s prominent place in the industry has become settled law.

Apple Music, Dubset Partner to Stream Previously Unlicensed Remixes and DJ Mixes. Thousands upon thousands of cool mash-ups and hour-long mixes have effectively been pulled out of the underground and placed onto the world’s second-largest music subscription service.

SoundCloud Signs Deal with Holdout Major Sony Music. “We are very excited to be working with SME,” SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung writes in a statement, “and cannot wait to see what we can achieve together as we continue to transform the future of music online.”

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Recap: 68% Smartphone Users Stream Daily, French Sales Falling, U.S. Publishing Settlement Looms

Posted by Glen Sears | March 14, 2016 10:43 am | No Comments

music streaming

Story of the Week

68% Of Smartphone Users Stream Music Daily
Illustrating just how pervasive streaming music has become, a new study shows that 68% of smartphone users listen to an average of 45 minutes of streaming music daily. By comparison, 71% watch video daily on their smartphones, but only for an average of 24 minutes.

According to a new Parks Associates study, digital media usage varies based on OS brand and carrier. iPhone users consume more media than Android and other operating systems. T-Mobile and Sprint customers have the highest incidence of daily music consumption among U.S. carriers – over 75% of subscribers for T-Mobile or Sprint listen to streaming music daily, versus 66% of Verizon users.

Mobile Music Streaming statistics

“Currently Amazon Prime Music is the most popular paid music subscription service among U.S. broadband households, thanks to its inclusion in Amazon Prime, but the streaming music war has intensified as the large connected entertainment companies are driving to consolidate their offerings,” said Harry Wang, Director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. “Apple launched Apple Music, and Google is consolidating its music offerings across its Play content store and YouTube platform. Consumers are getting more music options as the competition for users escalates.”

(via Hypebot)

Top Music News Stories

More Than 50% Americans Listen To Online Radio Weekly. The number of listeners is up from 44% last year, according to new Edison Research survey, with 126 million Americans over age 12 now listening weekly.

French Music Sales Plummeted Last Year. France was hit particularly hard with a 7% drop in 2015, and although streaming was up, it was hardly enough to counteract overall plummeting sales.

Tuesday Was The Most Important Day For Direct To Fan Music Since CDBaby & Tunecore. Three significant players in music tech placed big bets that the future of the new music industry lies in the powerful connection between artists and fans; and those companies that enable that direct connection will be the winners.

Sony Develops App For Streaming Royalty Reports. The app is only available to Sony artists in Sweden (where the app was developed) at the moment, but is expected to be rolled out to Sony artists globally later in the year.

SoundExchange Launches Free 20 Million Song Search Database. From music streamers lawsuits to takedowns on iTunes, song identification has become a major issue. To help solve the problem, SoundExchange has launched free ISRC Search Site that includes 20 million songs.

Allison Moore Hired As Chief Revenue Officer As Paid Launch Nears. New deals with the major labels require monetization and recent filings point to a company bleeding cash at alarming rate. Now an experienced digital executive has been hired to sort out the mess.

Settlement May Be In Sight For U.S. Publishing Royalties Suit. While the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) may well be on the verge of brokering a deal with Spotify that could in turn help its rivals sort out their publishing-licensing problems, that may not be the final word.

FCC Plans to Expand Low-Income Assistance to Broadband Ahead of Privacy Rules. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler posted a lengthy letter to his office’s website that laid out the Commission’s plans for Lifeline, a federal program which provides a $10 per month subsidy to the lowest-income Americans for wired phone services.

Last week famed producer and “fifth Beatle” George Martin passed away at the age of 90. His mark on popular music will last many generations, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends. Read a retrospective of his life and career here.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Have questions about how Medianet can help your digital music business? Ask us here. Want a topic or insight published on this blog? Ask us here. Other questions or comments? Let us know!

Music News Recap: Rhapsody Revenue & Losses, No Tidal Buyout, YouTube Star Not “Fair Use”

Posted by Glen Sears | March 7, 2016 10:22 am | No Comments

rhapsody music streaming 2015 finanicials

Story of the Week

Rhapsody Next Streaming Service to Pair Big Revenue Growth With Big Losses
Like many other streaming services, according to its 2015 financials Rhapsody has conformed to the “bigger revenues/bigger losses” streaming music growth model. The numbers, published by RealNetworks as part of its financial report, show Rhapsody’s revenues rose from $173.5M in 2014 to $202M in 2015 – growth of 16.4%. However, its net losses rose from $21.3M in 2014 to $35.5M in 2015, representing a 66.3% increase year-on-year.

This came as Rhapsody’s subscriber base grew by 45% in 2015, revealed in February in RealNetworks’ last earnings call – the company still holds a 43% stake in Rhapsody. Rhapsody reached 2M subscribers in July 2014 and 3M in July 2015. It’s thus reasonable to suggest that it had around 2.5M at the end of 2014, with 45% growth in 2015 indicating around 3.6M by the end of that year.

With Rhapsody, Spotify, Soundcloud, and others all posting major losses, and their competitors can absorb streaming losses with their income from device sales, advertising and e-commerce…2016 might be the year to talk more about what it means to succeed in streaming long term.
(more…)

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